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Gilt exec: Accessories and jewelry are heavy-hitting items on mobile

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – A Gilt executive at the Mobile Shopping Summit 2015 revealed that consumers have no problem purchasing items such as Hermès handbags on mobile, suggesting that accessories and jewelry are better suited to mcommerce than ready-to-wear apparel.

During the “Loyalty Panel: Increasing Customer Lifetime Value By Developing A Consistent Brand Voice Across Devices” session, the executive discussed how some retail categories are not as readily bridged with mobile as others. Consequently, the brand has revamped the imagery in its mobile application and site and lessened credit card friction to make the shopping process seamless and fuel more sales.

“Some categories we haven’t been able to bridge as much as others,” said Cynthia Kleinbaum, director of loyalty marketing at Gilt Groupe, New York. “Ready-to-wear has been a challenge, not so much accessories and handbags.”

Driving initial loyalty
With more than 50 percent of Gilt’s revenue coming from mobile, the digital fashion retailer is more than just a leader in mcommerce – it also knows a thing or two about using messaging to drive sales (see story).

The first time a user opens the app, he or she will be asked to opt-in for personalized push notifications.

Gilt maintains very low opt-out rates for messaging because it ensures it does not overwhelm customers with a barrage of content. Push notifications are sent minimally, and only when relevant.

“If you don’t use the app in the first week you download it, you are never going to use it,” Ms. Kleinbaum said.

The brand has also realized that its primary customers prefer to browse available inventory via their tablets or smartphones in the evening. Coupled with the knowledge that fashion accessories and handbags are major sellers, even for luxury products from fashion house Hermès, Gilt is able to effectively target its users at the right time with the right message.

Gilt customers readily purchase home and fashion accessories via mobile

That revelation could also help other retailers place an even larger focus on marketing jewelry and handbags, products that are more prone to impulse purchases since consumers do not have to try them on for size.

Additionally, a Zappos executive highlighted how his company has reacted to the exodus to mobile. It segments customers into two primary groups: those who are first-time customers and browse on mobile Web, and very engaged fans that eventually transform into loyal app users.

“We want to break down any friction for app users so they can come back again and again,” said Kedar Deshpande, head of mobile marketing at Zappos, Las Vegas. “Mobile is definitely, from an app perspective, creating long-term loyalty.”

Zappos keeps its customers loyal by offering emotional connections inside the app, further fueling impressions that the mobile experience provides additive perks not found elsewhere. For example, the brand offers customers one-business-day shipping to drive transactions.

The fact that retailers are competing with so many similar brands in the sector means that marketers must leverage mobile loyalty in a way that feels powerful for the consumer.

Combining mobile and social
The correlation between mobile loyalty and social media is becoming increasingly more apparent, especially for digital cooking hub Allrecipes. An executive from the company also spoke on the panel, discussing how social has helped it branch out to more users on mobile.

“We’ve made our site much more social,” said Karen Samuel, senior director of new business at, Seattle. “We’ve concentrated more on that mobile experience no matter where the customer is.”

Consumers become excited when they upload a personal recipe on the mobile site and then have someone from across the country give it a five-star rating. Allrecipes has started sending notifications to users when this occurs in the hopes of offering some positive support to cooking enthusiasts.

Additionally, the brand is testing beacon technology in supermarkets. The beacons will be able to ping shoppers when they walk into the supermarket or while they are standing in a specific while.

However, Allrecipes must figure out the best balance between sending relevant content and annoying consumers with too many messages.

“You don’t want to inundate people with notifications,” Ms. Samuel said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York